What’s your favorite rainy (survive-the-day) activity?

Atlanta can’t seem to catch a break from the thunderstorms. It’s a miracle the city hasn’t floated down the Chattahoochee in the latest spate of storms. I’ve been hearing from so many friends about how frustrated they are trying to entertain their kids and get energy out while it’s raining.

One girlfriend was bemoaning taking her three kids to the movies. She likes getting out of the house but then they just sit there and don’t expend any energy. Also it’s very expensive. She says she’s inclined just to let them watch TV instead of paying for a movie.  (FYI — “Monsters University” opens this Friday just in case. There’s a 20 percent chance of rain for Friday, Saturday and Sunday according to Channel 2.)

I told her she should go to one of the indoor trampoline parks like Sky Zone. Her kids are too big for a jumpy place but they need to get that energy out. (Be sure not to feed your kids before. Lilina threw up at a birthday party at one of those places. That was on Michael’s watch.)

One friend posted the cutest photos of her oldest child entertaining the younger kids with a magic show. I thought that was just adorable.  I think it would be fun to head to a magic store, buy some tricks, practice the tricks and then put on a show for mom and dad or even the neighborhood.  (Here’s the address for two magic stores in Atlanta. We used to go to Eddie’s Trick Shop when it was on Memorial Drive. My brother loved doing magic tricks. )

I am also seeing a lot of card games being played in photos on Facebook. Rose has taken up Klondike and Pyramid solitaire lately. She’ll spend hours in her bedroom just challenging herself to cards. She also likes Hearts on the computer.

A Wii party could be fun too and a good way to get the kids to move. Or what about a dance party? Or a cooking or crafting party? Or create a neighborhood play Mickey Rooney-style? Or skating or even better ice skating (let’s pretend to be cold)? Indoor mini golf? Bowling?

There are tons of museums and indoor tourist sites for kids in Atlanta. However, you have to find a cost-effective way to do several of them.  Atlanta’s visitor’s bureau offers a CityPASS, which gives you almost 50 percent off of doing five activities in the city. You can choose from the Georgia Aquarium, World of Coca Cola, Inside the CNN Studio Tour, Zoo Atlanta, the Atlanta History Center, the Fernbank Museum of Natural History or the High Museum of Art. It’s $74 for adults and $54 for kids 3 to 12 and you have multiple days to visit.

I always like to promote the Tellus Science Museum in Cartersville. All our buddies love going there. I guess it depends on how hard it’s raining though – if it would be difficult to drive there.

One of our editors suggested an underground MARTA adventure hitting Underground Atlanta, CNN Center, Peachtree Center. (We used to that in summer camp — take the MARTA just for the heck of it.)  Legoland Discovery Center,  the Center for Puppetry Arts or art studios like Wired and Fired could also work.

Another friend suggested just letting them play in the rain as long as it’s not thundering – let them stomp in puddles and make mudpies.

How are you entertaining your kids during these stormy days? What is you go-to place or activity when the kids have to get some energy out?

28 comments Add your comment


June 19th, 2013
4:52 am

Seriously? Try being a teacher with 25 students in a classroom during a rainy week! BTW they are all packed into one room. You cannot send them to the basement or their bedrooms. It does amaze me what some folks complain about!


June 19th, 2013
6:00 am

To get mine away from screens, we sometimes pull out the Ivory soap. If you microwave a bar of Ivory (I usually cut the bar into fourths…small microwave), and you ‘cook’ the soap it ends up about 10times it’s original size. Then we put the finished product on cookie sheets at the table. The kids pull out plastic farm animals, Dino’s, even cars and play in the Ivory snow. Great sensory thing, smells good, easy clean up, cheap fun.


June 19th, 2013
6:05 am

MJG- excellent! :)


June 19th, 2013
7:40 am

Miss Mary, if you a lamenent table or some kind of plastic (shower curtain?) over your good table —give them a can of cheap shaving cream (we used Colgate) and let them “finger paint”.

Get out the Wii Sports and start a competition. A good game of tennis on that thing will take some out of you.

Cleaning always expends energy. If you run out of places to clean at your house, your welcome to come help at mine LOL ;)

$1.75 movies (Venture and Merchant’s Walk) are a good thing but they don’t expend energy.

Ice or Roller Skating if you want to spend money. Museum has room to walk around…there are several here in the Metro area. Some even have exhibits kids are supposed to climb on.

The Strand off the Square is doing a great production of “Joseph and the Technicolor Dream Coat” although again that is money and not much energy.


June 19th, 2013
7:50 am

I know kids are sweet, but they are not made of sugar and will not melt in the rain. Kids can still play in the rain and mud.


June 19th, 2013
7:52 am

FCM …teachers everywhere are telling me they cannot use shaving cream as the can says: keep out of reach of children. TRUE. I used it for the children to clean off their desks each Friday, when I taught.

Whatever happened to old fashioned board games or cards? You know, the kind we played when we did not have an IPAD or even cable TV? Oh yeah, the parents have to actually show their kids how to play those games and it is harder than popping in a DVD or taking them to the movies. Some kids cannot be expected to entertain themselves and be involved in their own games without bickering. What about puzzles? I am horrible at them but my daughter loved them. Reading is good too :).

I ditto the cleaning and here is an idea:

$10 to clean out the linen closet and organize.
$7 to vaccum the entire house
$3 to take out all the trash
$2 to empty the dishwasher

Then, I will take you to the mall and you can spend it. WHY would you pay your child to do that? BECAUSE you are paying to entertain him/her and you will not get your own work done. If you hire your children to do the things you might need to do and then let them spend that $$$, you both win. Plus they learn how to earn $$$ for what they want to do. If my college aged daughter is home and wants to earn some extra $$$ I hire her to do things around here too! We have done this for years! My son probably needs to pay us now as he will be making more that either one of us make alone shortly :).


June 19th, 2013
8:09 am

Not a problem..We woke up Mon. morning and fouund a kitten on the back patio, so that has kept the boy pretty busy..We also got a new air conditioner put in and he has helped out with that by being a gopher..

FCM..I saw this at the Fox Theatre a few years ago and loved it..We might go see that..I think he would love it..The Tellus is wonderful and we’ve been there and they really like that also..I also agree with lettting them play in the rain..I remember playing in it and having so much fun..


June 19th, 2013
8:49 am

Back in the day, we would pull out the Uno cards, regular cards, and board games. We still love to play Uno.

My favorite rainy day activity, is to lay on the couch, and watch all the DVR recordings, and clean it up.

I’ve never paid my kids to clean the house, as no one pays me to do it. I never paid money to motivate my kids.


June 19th, 2013
8:54 am

Well, back in the day when all we had were woodburning computers, I played with paper dolls, marbles, and the button box. I am guessing many kids today would think that boring, but it was great for the imagination. I would sometimes play jacks or use play doh or water color or read. As an only child, I was,largely on my own in terms of entertainment. If I had complained to my mother, she would have set me to work cleaning something or ironing my dad’s handkerchiefs or the pillowcases.

With my own kids, it was much the same.


June 19th, 2013
9:10 am

(It was much the same except for the ironing. ;-)

We played lots of board games, too, but we did that on many evenings rain or not after the family walk. We also had a Fisher Price tape player and record player and they had about 30 book and tape/record sets. Can’t seem to find those nowadays. Anyone got any ideas on how to find some? Ours literally wore out!


June 19th, 2013
9:12 am

@ Mayhem…I think you missed the point:

Day one…we all work in the house and get things done ( keep them busy) and I will pay you.
Day two….we all go somewhere and you can ONLY spend the money you earned. You can learn how to stick with a budget ( as I have to do).
Swap days out! You could also count things as points and use the point system to allow purchase on the days you leave the house.

I will take you places all week long. Be the entertainment director. Not get any of my work done. Spend my money and you will have no clue how much things cost.

I know other parents who pooed pooed this idea. Same parents gave their child a car and cc to use when they were old enough. Then, took the cc away when the bill got too high. Child has to get a job and them complained that her earnings did not match her wants ( true story).

Everyone parents differently. That is for sure!

@ catlady, back in the days ….haha!


June 19th, 2013
9:13 am

” had to get a job and then” sorry!


June 19th, 2013
9:24 am

@ Becky, we saw it last Thursday. They did a great job!

In a few weeks Blake Cooper Productions (BCP) will be performing Willy Wonka at Dodgen Middle School. Tickets were $10 for BCP’s production of Godspell, Jr. I can tell you those kids worked hard on Godspell (6 hours a day for 9 days plus 2 shows!!!)…that certainly kept my child active and moving!

For those in Cobb who don’t know BCP does professional quality performances with elementary – high school kids. His former students even came back to see Godspell.

K's Mom

June 19th, 2013
9:31 am

We went to the pool yesterday morning and it was cloudy when we left, but the weather said it was not supposed to rain for several more hours. It ended up raining for about an hour with no thunder/lightning while we were there. My 3yo thought I was the coolest thing ever because I let him stay out in the rain! He thoroughly enjoyed it!

Next time it is raining with no thunder/lightning, we will go outside and run around. He thought it was great fun and even though I hate our laminate floors, they are easy to clean up when we come in!

K's Mom

June 19th, 2013
9:34 am

@MJG, I like the idea of cleaning one day and using your money the next. There was a mom at the pool yesterday whose kids were using their “points” for treats and I asked her about her system and it was similar to what you describe. Her kids can lose points too by fighting with each other and misbehaving! We are going to start an allowance with K very soon so that he can begin learning some of these lessons.


June 19th, 2013
10:06 am

You don’t need to buy tricks to do magic. My 8 year old gets a lot of great ideas from a YouTube channel Julian’s Magician School. We have looked at more than dozen sites for magic tricks for kids and his is the best by far. Julian is great teaching tricks that kids can do easily, as it can be hard to find tricks that a young child can do without getting frustrating. And, the tricks can really fool an adult audience. Julian is a wonderful teacher (a birthday party magician) and explains things clearly and demonstrates it several times. The videos are only a few minutes. You can find some neat tricks using a deck of cards, coins and other everyday objects. My son has really enjoyed his site over the past year.

Another suggestion I have for an inexpensive museum visit on a rainy day is the Southern Museum in Kennesaw. It is Smithsonian affiliated and very high quality and is usually not crowded at all. And, it is one of the cheapest museums you could visit and one of the best. If you’ve never been, you are missing out on a great museum. There is enough to appeal to kids and adults. The focus is on how trains are made and also the famous story of The General train that was stolen in the Civil War times. They actually have The General train there and it is magnificent to see. There is a 30 minute movie showing the train being stolen and the famous chase. It is a very adventurous movie that is tame enough for young kids. The exhibits show how trains are manufactured and they also have some general Civil War exhibits. They revamped the kids education and play area a few years ago, and young kids will have a lot of fun there. They have a working telegraph with wires going across the room and old timey dress up costumes. You can easily spend a full day there. Kids 3 and under are free. Age 4-12 are 5.50 and adults are $7.50. You can get $1 off with AAA card or a Family Pass is $18. The gift shop has a huge amount of train related things. Also, across from the museum, there are train tracks and you are likely to see a real train going by a few times a day. We usually pack a lunch and eat outside on the benches, but there are a few restaurants to eat within walking distance. They also have a train caboose outside that the kids can play in.

Aside from the Southern Museum, the Tellus is another favorite one of ours. On rainy days, my son does a lot of reading, card tricks, makes things out of objects around the house, and we play board games. He also plays in the rain also when there’s no thunder or lightning.

Sky Zone seems pretty pricey, as you pay by the hour. So, it is quite different from the jumpy places. The one time we considered trying it on a Sunday, it was already booked up. It seems you need to reserve in advance for most days. Some of the parks around here have open gym hours that are free for basketball, etc. They will lower the goals for the young kids. This can be an option during rainy days, but you need to call to find out if the outdoor day camps are using the gym when it’s raining.

Young Lady

June 19th, 2013
10:07 am

MJG- Board Games were always my favorite thing to do when it was storming or raining. We’d play Life, Chutes and Ladders, Candyland, or Monopoly! My grandmother was always the best card game player too. She was our constant babysitter growing up and I think she got tired of the board game quicker than us and would steer us to cards. We never beat her and she taught us how to play poker and gin rummy. :) I never did get the hang of Hearts until I was older though. I definately got better at gin rummy. No one wants to play against me when the power goes out!

I dropped my fried twinkie

June 19th, 2013
10:55 am


June 19th, 2013
11:41 am

Music, Music, and Music, build forts, Uno, put on shows/plays. Once I had them make up a realistic story that they could act out. And art projects galore. Every year for christmas, Santa brings a HUGE box filled with art supplies (paints, construction paper, sparkly paper, pipe cleaners, jiggly eyes, yarn, and a thousand other things ). We have a pottery wheel that comes in handy on rainy days too. The kids like to do ice bowling… they take plastic cups of water, freeze them for bowling pins, and then use a ball to knock them over (we play that in the garage).


June 19th, 2013
11:45 am

My son likes to do plays and puppet shows as well. Our basement has some clear space for a low-key indoor kickball (with a small, somewhat soft ball) or four square, which works to expend energy as long as you don’t have glass breakables around.


June 19th, 2013
12:07 pm

We used to roller skate in our basement…not very largearea but we got pretty good at doing tricks on our skates.

Ping Pong….I think Nerf has one of those deals where you can put it on your existing table and with the nerf ball it is not as distructive.

One we have not mentioned is everyone in the family take turns reading a chapter of a book aloud. Get summer reading in for all kids at once!


June 19th, 2013
12:14 pm

I still don’t agree with paying kids to do chores on rainy days.

We always told the kids what we expected from them, and they received an allowance. Each child had specific chores, and if they were not completed, they did not get their full allowance. Once they received their allowance, 10% had to go into a savings account IMMEDIATELY!. They could do whatever they wanted with the remaining 90%. But we didn’t specifically go somewhere so they could spend their money.

To this day, they each still put 10% into their own savings accounts when they get their paychecks.


June 19th, 2013
12:47 pm

Mayhem we had to put 10% in the bank too.

K's Mom

June 19th, 2013
1:06 pm

@Mayhem, I get what you are saying about allowance and that is the way we plan to do allowance. However, if there are some big jobs that need to be done and it is raining out, I like the idea of extra work for extra money. I used to wash my dad’s car to earn an extra dolllar or two (in the early 80’s). I have a friend who matches her kid’s allowance savings, like a 401k. The first year she did not put a limit on it and her daughter saved most of her allowance and all of her gift money from grandparents and ended up being out close $1000:


June 19th, 2013
1:28 pm

I have not been to the southern museum yet but we frequent the playground right across it from and the train comes by every 20 minutes or so


June 19th, 2013
1:29 pm

oops *right across from it

Finn McCool

June 19th, 2013
2:34 pm